There are many automotive award ceremonies throughout the year, but one of the most respected is the World Car Awards (WCA).
Now in their 14th year, the annual World Car Awards are a truly global deal, with an international jury panel comprising 82 top-level automotive journalists from 24 countries to handpick who walks away with an accolade.
The UK contributes seven jurors, namely Richard Aucock (Motoring Research), Nat Barnes (The Express), Richard Bremner (Autocar), Steve Fowler and Mike Rutherford (Auto Express), Charlie Turner (Top Gear) and Kyle Fortune (freelance for many of the titles just mentioned).
So it’s safe to say us Brits are well represented, even if the Yanks have twice as many jurors on the panel. Either way, the winners of this year’s awards were cars that are available right now in the UK.
Nissan Leaf – World Green Car
Many at Nissan probably hoped that the second-generation Leaf electric car could reprise the success of the original, which claimed the prestigious title of World Car of the Year in 2011, alas this time it wasn’t to be.
Being named the year’s best eco car isn’t bad going though, fending off competition from the BMW 530e iPerformance and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Compared to the original Leaf, this second stab looked better, boasted a longer range, bigger power output and a quieter, more relaxing drive.
Since the Nissan Leaf launched in 2010, the brand has sold more than 300,000 zero-emission electric vehicles worldwide, helping to reduce carbon footprints around the globe.
Range Rover Velar – World Car Design
Some magnificent cars brandish the Land Rover logo but none of them have ever won a World Car Award. However, 14 years of waiting has paid off after the Velar was deemed to be the most beautiful car in the world, ahead of the Lexus LC 500 and Volvo XC60.
Filling the gap between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport, the Velar is more than just an amalgamation of both, with several notable design highlights such as that boot lid and a fierce front-end setting it apart from its Rangie siblings. Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive at Jaguar Land Rover, was clearly pleased with the win.
He commented: “Receiving the World Car of the Year award means a lot to us. The Range Rover Velar is an outstanding, superior SUV. Compelling modernity, eye-catching design, an innovative infotainment technology and a clear focus on sustainability – what a combination. This product speaks for itself.” For more on the Velar click here.
BMW M5 – World Performance Car
With a 0-62mph sprint of 3.4 seconds, the 592bhp M5 is the quickest BMW ever so few could contest its win in this group.
Similarly, the Honda Civic Type R and Lexus LC 500 shouldn’t feel so downhearted at conceding to such a landmark Beemer.
Audi A8 – World Luxury Car
Audi celebrated its ninth World Car Award as the A8 saw off a pair of Porsches (Cayenne and Panamera) to top the luxury category.
“This award is a special honour for us and our flagship model,” reacted Peter Mertens, board member for technical development at Audi AG.
“The Audi A8 is an innovation driver for our entire industry. With its touch control system, consistent broad-based electrification and the technical prerequisites for highly automated driving, the A8 sets new standards in automotive engineering.”
Volkswagen Polo – World Urban Car
This category was introduced last year when it was won by the BMW i3.
The Polo actually won the overall prize of World Car of the Year in 2010 and the supermini continues to rack up prestigious awards eight years later with the sixth-gen model, which is even sportier and more grown-up than its predecessors.
Around 17 million Polos have been sold worldwide, making it one of the most successful compact cars of all time and a pillar of the VW brand.
Volvo XC60 – World Car of the Year
If ever you needed proof that SUVs are dominating the new car market right now, the other two shortlisted cars in this headline category were the Mazda CX-5 and Range Rover Velar.
The XC60 had already been crowned the UK Car of the Year a month earlier and WCA jurors were convinced too. Safety is famously a big deal at Volvo and the XC60 was Euro NCAP’s top performer during the organisation’s crash tests in 2017.
Under the bonnet of the XC60, you’ll find the usual diesel and petrol engines, but also the award-winning T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid that delivers 384bhp and can accelerate from zero to 62mph in just 5.3 seconds.
Are you happy with those winners? Which cars would you vote for? Tell us down there in the comments.